Firefighter injured battling Sunday blaze; England says Arson suspected

Published 3:45 pm Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Middlesboro City Fire Department responded to a structure fire on Sunday night.

According to Middlesboro City Fire Chief Robert England, the Middlesboro Fire Department was notified shortly before midnight.

“At about 11:30 p.m., we got a call from dispatch that we had a structure fire at Edgewood Ave,” England said. “It was right up behind the post office.”

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England said the fire was well underway when the firefighters arrived at the scene.

“We got there and there was a pretty good amount of fire rolling from the back of it,” England said. “It extended from either upstairs down or from downstairs up, we haven’t quite figured that out yet.”

Once on the scene, firefighters entered the structure leading to the injury of one firefighter.

“Our guys made entry from the front, got up to about halfway up the steps and fire blew back down the steps and got one of our guys pretty hot and burned him,” England said. “They took him to the ER, treated him there and then flew him to UK for further evaluation.”

England explained the firefighter’s injuries were not life-threatening.

“They treated one burn wound on his shoulder, which was pretty small, and discharged him,” England said. “I brought him back home with me this morning (Monday)…The injuries were not life threatening, he should be back to work pretty quick.”

England said the fire is under investigation.

“We do suspect arson,” England said. “We will be investigating this as hard as we can to try to prevent it from happening again in the future.”

England said that while they were still in the process of extinguishing the blaze an individual had made a report to police about the fire.

“We got word from the Middlesboro City Police Department that a lady had walked into the police department and said she set it on fire,” England said. “We will be talking to her in the near future.”

He explained it is not known at this time if the fire was started intentionally.

“I think she was maybe squatting in there, my understanding is it was an empty house,” England said.

He said the structure was heavily damaged but may be repairable.

“It already had some neglect damage beforehand,” England said.